18/07/2024

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Longview ISD voters again reject bond package | Education

Longview ISD voters again reject bond package | Education

Longview ISD taxpayers have rejected a district bond package that totaled almost $360 million — the second proposal declined by voters in two years.

The two-part bond referendum failed by narrow margins, according to unofficial Tuesday night election results from the Gregg County Election Board.

District voters rejected Proposition A by a vote of 2,904 (51.86%) to 2,696 (48.14%), a difference of 208 votes.

Proposition B failed by a vote of 3,006 (53.74%) to 2,588 (46.26%), a difference of 418 votes.

Proposition A was for about $292 million, with the largest portion of that — almost $88.8 million — going toward renovations at Longview High School and Early Graduation High School.

Proposition B totaled almost $67 million, with almost $45 million going toward a multi-use indoor facility that could be used by a variety of sports and band students, for instance.

Some of the proposed projects that would have been funded by the bond also were part of the $230 million, four-proposition package that voters rejected in 2022. That election attracted about 2,400 voters, with about two-thirds of them casting ballots against each of the four measures.

The district said approval of the bond package would not have affected its 2023-24 tax rate but later would have raised the tax rate by less than a penny over several years.

That would have equated to about $10 annually on a Longview ISD home valued at $200,000.

District officials said the proposal would have funded a number of campus additions and renovations, including:

Replacement of the district’s “bus barn” at a cost of about $7.3 million;

Almost $89 million to renovate Longview High School and Early Graduation High School and almost $57 million for a new career and technical education center at the high school;

“Life cycle replacement” of heating, air conditioning and ventilation units at a cost of about $24.7 million;

Construction of a new building that would combine Early Head Start, Head Start and traditional child care programs at a cost of about $48.3 million;

Upgrades to Lobo Coliseum as well as construction of a multi-purpose student facility for high school football, baseball, band and other student activities;

Renovations to Longview High School tennis courts, aquatic center and locker rooms for the district’s high school baseball, soccer, swimming and tennis programs;

New lighting and stands for high school baseball stadium and soccer field; and

Safety and security measures at all campuses throughout the district — such as interior locking doors and a fence around Longview High School — as well as installation of solar panels at many district facilities and work to the lighting at the Judson Middle School stadium.

District officials previously said even if the bond failed, some of the upgrades would go forward.

“Either way, the district is going to pay for these upgrades,” Wayne Guidry, the district’s assistant superintendent of business finance, said about HVAC replacement. “We as a community are deciding how we’re going to pay for it. We can pay for it with bond money or maintenance and operation money.”